New Albany third-graders will be among the first to read "New Albany: A Kid-Sized History," a children's history book written by New Albany High School senior Alison Underhill.

New Albany third-graders will be among the first to read "New Albany: A Kid-Sized History," a children's history book written by New Albany High School senior Alison Underhill.

Underhill wrote the book to fulfill the requirements for her a senior seminar project. To graduate from New Albany High School, seniors must research an idea, complete a project and file paperwork to show their progress.

Underhill decided to write a book because she loves writing and is interested in the New Albany's history.

"I've lived here for 16 years and I wanted to learn something about New Albany before I left for college," Underhill said.

Inside book jacket, she wrote, "This book begins with a time when New Albany was not yet called 'New Albany' and takes a journey to the present and to the future."

Underhill spent nearly 30 hours of her summer interviewing local residents and attending a New Albany-Plain Township Historical Society picnic to research the area's history. She said she found some interesting tidbits along the way.

It took another 200 hours to put the book together.

"It's a really good idea" to finish the senior seminar project in the summer, "but you have to give up a lot of your time," she said.

Some longtime residents shared information with Underhill about growing up in Plain Township and New Albany. Underhill said young people used to watch movies on the side of a building and hang out at a gas station after basketball games.

"It's crazy how different but the same we are," she said.

The book is laid out with children in mind. Underhill used different fonts, print sizes and colors to make the layout interesting and included photos where she could.

To make the book more appealing to children, she included a little eagle, New Albany's mascot, on several pages and challenges her readers to count the number of eagles throughout the book.

An educational piece at the end asks children to think about what they learned from the book, using math, science, language arts and social studies skills. She further challenges readers to create their own time capsule to support future historical endeavors or to write the mayor of New Albany a letter asking for something the village needs.

"I tried to incorporate what they are learning in third grade," Underhill said.

Students may recognize a few people in the book. It includes Valerie Bevelhymer, who has taught in the district for many years.

"I thought the kids could relate to their fifth-grade teacher, a familiar face," Underhill.

She even included information on where New Albany may be in 20 years, after interviewing Mayor Nancy Ferguson.

Ferguson said she was impressed with Underhill's project.

"It's wonderful really to have a textbook written at a younger age level," Ferguson said.

She said the book could be a useful tool and could help restore programs linking the New Albany-Plain Township Historical Society with the schools.

"Getting younger kids interested in our local history is something no one's really tried in maybe seven or eight years," Ferguson said.

Collecting the information was not difficult, but trying to edit it down was a different story, Underhill said.

"The layout was hard, but the editing was the most challenging," she said.

Working on www.blurb.com, Underhill downloaded software to position photos and text on pages. The book is marketed through the website.

Underhill said has order forms available for those interested in her book. It sells for $30 and Underhill said she receives about 20 cents for each sale.

She has donated books to the New Albany K-1 and 2-5 buildings, and she plans to visit New Albany Middle School this year as part of an author visit.